Giacomo Antonio Melchiorre Ceruti was an Italian late Baroque painter, active in Northern Italy in Milan, Brescia, and Venice. He acquired the nickname Pitocchetto for his many paintings of peasants dressed in rags.
He was born in Milan, but worked primarily in Brescia. He may have been influenced early by Antonio Cifrondi and/or Giacomo Todesco, and received training from Carlo Ceresa. While he also painted still-life paintings and religious scenes, Ceruti is best known for his genre paintings, especially of beggars and the poor, whom he painted realistically and endowed with unusual dignity and individuality.
Ceruti gave particular attention to this subject matter during the period 1725 to 1740, and about 50 of his genre paintings from these years survive. Mira Pajes Merriman, in her essay titled Comedy, Reality, and the Development of Genre Painting in Italy, observes that "Generally his figures do almost nothing—after all, they have nothing to do." She describes his paintings as confronting us with